US Announces Plan to
Combat Global Organized Crime
November 4, 2011
The Obama administration has announced a new plan to crack down on
international organized crime groups.
An executive order authorizes new sanctions against criminal cartels in
Mexico, Japan, Italy and eastern Europe. The sanctions target Mexico's
violent Los Zetas drug gang; Japan's Yakuza, which comprises the major
Japanese organized crime syndicates; the Camorra, an Italy-based
organized crime network; and The Brothers' Circle, a multi-ethnic
criminal group based largely in countries of the former Soviet Union.
In announcing the new strategy Monday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
said transnational organized crime networks are not new. But he said
after a wide-ranging review – the first of its kind in 15 years –
combating transnational organized crime has never been more urgent. The
strategy sets out 56 priority actions aimed at breaking the groups'
economic power and protecting the financial system.
Department officials say today's criminal organizations are increasingly
sophisticated, know no borders and threaten the stability of the
financial system and the promise of a competitive marketplace.
The announcement comes one day after President Barack Obama signed the
executive order to impose sanctions on the organizations. In a letter to
the U.S. Congress, Mr. Obama said organized crime is no longer a local
or regional problem and that it has become a danger to international
stability. In the report's foreword, the president said transnational
criminal organizations “have taken advantage of our increasingly
interconnected world to expand their illicit enterprises.”
The order allows the Treasury Department to take on the international
criminal groups by freezing any assets they may have in the United
States. U.S. citizens are prohibited from doing business with them.
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